The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection gives players a chance to explore some of the most unique Mega Man games in the franchise’s history. Instead of platforming and fighting robots, players build a deck of battle chips as they enter computers and take down monstrous viruses. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection aims to modernize these original games with new features, restored content, and brand-new online functionality, but does the Legacy Collection truly manage to improve on the original Battle Network titles?
Jack In! Mega Man, Execute!
When starting the Legacy Collection, players are treated to a charming visual of MegaMan.EXE welcoming them. They’re able to dive into the games at their leisure or check out additional features like achievements, concept art, and music. It’s even possible to see downloadable chips and patch cards before opening a game, giving players an idea of what’s available and what isn’t. Many of these additions are standard for Capcom’s Legacy Collections, but minor additions like a talking Mega Man give this one a bit more personality than most.
This collection also includes a filter for each game meant to make the pixel-based adventures look “smoother” than usual. It’s not quite a perfect addition, but players are able to turn it off whenever they like in the collection’s own unique menu. This is where many other helpful features can be found, such as button configuration and sound options. Players can even adjust the screen size, allowing the games to mimic their original resolution on GBA systems. This allows for a faithful yet customizable experience that can’t be easily found in other re-releases out there.
However, the Legacy Collection lacks a few things that could have stood to be changed. In-game text uses a new font that doesn’t match the visuals, making it seem off-putting even with the filter on. There’s no way to change it back to its original form, which honestly doesn’t make much sense since the filter can be turned off whenever players like. It’s a minor change in the grand scheme of things, but it’s hard to fully embrace each title’s story with such mismatched text.
Additionally, the quality of life features found in the Legacy Collection is somewhat lacking. It’s still far too easy to lose hours of progress in one of the games due to running into an unwinnable random encounter, or to end up sitting around next to stationary enemies while waiting for new battle chips to become usable. The Buster MAX mode added in the collection feels like a cheap cop-out that overcompensates for the difficulty, making each game far too easy with it on. It would have been nicer to have an option for autosave or a button to speed up gameplay as seen in other recent collections. Such additions would make the acts of progression and grinding much less tedious while still forcing players to consider the challenges ahead of them.
Topping off the list of problems in the Legacy Collection itself is the lack of more Battle Network content outside of the GBA games and their patch cards. Obviously, there’s no Battle Network 4.5 and no Network Transmission, but there’s also no Operation Shooting Star and no Double Team DS. This was made clear from the collection’s announcement, but it’s a shame to lose out on the improvements and additions from the DS remakes of Battle Network 1 and 5. It’s also a shame to lose out on more Japanese-only content, especially since the Legacy Collection has made attempts to restore such content (even if that restoration isn’t perfect itself).
Lost in Translation, Yet Again
Having been released in the GBA era, the original Battle Network games were heavily localized, with more than a few translation errors showing up as a result. They also removed certain content from Japanese-only copies of each game, such as special battle chips and an entire scenario in Battle Network 6. Much of this content has been restored and newly translated with each title being based on its Japanese release. Some existing content has also been fixed up, such as the name of the Z-Saver chip being correctly changed to Z-Saber.
Unfortunately, many existing errors haven’t been fixed at all. Even the aforementioned Z-Saber chip still misspells Reploid as “Repliroid” in its description. There are also still plenty of infamous errors such as “Load Chaud” and “Leg’s Go, Lan” that feel impossible to miss. In fact, brand-new errors have been introduced, such as ellipses in the Battle Network 3 intro being replaced by quotation marks and certain NPC dialogue being cut off at the wrong points. It feels like the English script from each game was simply copy-pasted into the Legacy Collection without any regard for the problems present within.
This extends to each game’s localization as well, which might be seen as a good thing for some. Even Battle Network 2’s more raunchy and questionable sections were kept as-is, from rapping for whiskey to the characters swearing during tense moments. On one hand, it’s honestly kind of nice to experience these moments as they were. It lets players enjoy these games the same way many kids in the early 2000s did, and it completely evades cries of censorship by simply not having any to begin with. But considering the changes to text graphics and the numerous other errors present in the script, it comes off less as preservation and more as just pure laziness.
The Legacy Collection shouldn’t have these errors in the first place and it’s hard to excuse their existence., but they can eventually be patched if Capcom wishes to put in the time and effort to do so. This normally wouldn’t be relevant, but it brings up an important point for this review: these games aren’t just emulated versions of the original titles.
Worlds of Past and Present Combined
For all the errors Capcom missed in the Legacy Collection, they did their best to ensure none of it affected the most important part of Battle Network: the core gameplay. In other words, the gameplay across each title is faithful, responsive, and overall fantastic. Going beyond simple emulation, however, the developers have pushed ahead in this area to include perhaps the most important addition of the Legacy Collection: online functionality. Battling and trading can now be done across the internet, letting even long-time fans experience content they might have never been able to before.
The online functionality is on a per-game basis rather than being available through its own special menu. This does somewhat limit functionality, but it keeps online play more organized in general. The developers have even made efforts to balance PVP while keeping the single-player experience as free as it always was. This only makes for more intense online battles on top of the fun found by instantly deleting the toughest bosses using a mere handful of battle chips.
There’s a lot that can be said about what the Legacy Collection didn’t include or where it gets stuff wrong, but what it did right doesn’t need much of an explanation. Each game in the collection offers an incredibly faithful gameplay experience to the original. The additional patch cards, downloadable chips, restored content, and online functionality make these collections feel as complete as they can be even with whatever else might be missing. Its worst errors are easily ignored in the face of classic gameplay and a massive selection of content, making it hard not to recommend — even for players who own the GBA releases already.
This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.
- This article was updated on April 12th, 2023